ESSEX County Council has put the brakes on Alumno’s development of Colchester’s so-called Cultural Quarter after announcing a review of the covenant it holds over the site.

Conservative MP Will Quince met with County Hall leader David Finch to discuss the student-rooms development for land off Queen Street.

Following the meeting, Mr Finch has announced the authority will need to examine the covenant before progress is made on the controversial development.

Mr Finch said: “The county council is currently in possession of a covenant on the site which restricts its potential use.

“We will need to carefully consider the provisions within the covenant before any decision is arrived at regarding the future development of the site.”

Alumno’s plans, which include 336-student rooms, an 87-bed Travelodge, retail units and open space, were approved on appeal after being rejected by Colchester Council’s planning committee.

The controversial application drew almost unprecedented opposition from campaigners from across the political spectrum including from Mr Quince and Colchester’s Conservative Group.

However Colchester Council signed a 250-year lease agreement meaning it would receive a one-off payment of £980,881 if planning approval was agreed at any stage.

Mr Quince said: “The covenant represents the only opportunity to stop this development from proceeding now Colchester Council has signed a deal with the developer and planning permission has been granted.

“I am pleased Mr Finch has listened and put the brakes on any decision to lift or release the covenant pending a review of it’s provisions.

“The covenant was put in place for a reason and we now have an opportunity to work with County Hall to make them aware of the huge public opposition and make the case lifting or releasing the covenant is not in the interests of residents or businesses.”